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How to Tell If That Mango You’re Holding at the Grocery Store Is Ripe or Not
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

We love them in tacos and dessert. We’ll even add mangos to guacamole or drink them in a cocktail. Yep, there are plenty of ways we love to eat this juicy tropical fruit. The only way we don’t like it? When it’s rock hard and ruins our dinner plans. Next time you’re at the store, here’s how to tell if a mango is ripe.

Focus on the feel

You know the way you usually test whether or not a peach or avocado is ripe? The same rules apply here. Give your mango a gentle squeeze—if it’s ripe, it should have a little give. If it’s totally solid then it’s not ready yet, and if it’s really soft, well, that’s one mature mango (i.e., too ripe). You also want to pick a fruit that feels heavy for its size since this is usually a good indicator that it’s ready to eat. 

Smell the mango

Sniff the fruit by its stem—sometimes a ripe mango will have a fruity aroma that’s similar to what it tastes like. But note, this isn’t always the case so if there’s no smell, rely on the touch test instead. One thing you definitely don’t want? A sour or alcoholic odor—that’s a sign that the mango is overly ripe. 

Don’t look at the color

Green, yellow, pink...mangos come in a variety of colors. But whatever shade the fruit you’re holding in your hands, know that it has nothing to do with its ripeness (sorry).

Once you’ve brought home your ready-to-eat mango, don’t put that guy on the counter—store it in the fridge until it’s guac o-clock (this slows down the ripening process). A whole, ripe mango can be stored in the fridge for five days. Pass the chips.

RELATED: How to Ripen a Mango When You Want to Eat It, Like, Now

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